The year 2018 has been another spectacular one in the football world. As we witness the year’s final round of fixtures this weekend, here’s our latest rankings based on the results of Europe’s elite clubs during the festive period.
There is plenty of shifting in our latest rankings as Juventus, Barcelona, and Liverpool rise up to take the top three spots in our list, while Manchester City drop down to fourth after two successive league defeats. Atletico Madrid comes in for Sevilla and Chelsea’s free fall in the rankings continues despite a win in their last league game.
The Old Lady rise to the summit of the Power Rankings following an impressive comeback in the 2-2 draw at Atalanta which preserved their unbeaten start to the league campaign. Cristiano Ronaldo’s 12th Serie A goal ensured the Bianconeri enter the new year with a nine-point lead at the top of the league standings. Massimiliano Allegri’s men are expected to collect three points against Sampdoria at home in their final fixture of 2018.
The Spanish champions eased past Celta Vigo to maintain their lead in the La Liga title race. Club icon and five-time golden boot winner Lionel Messi was on the scoresheet once again as the Blaugrana moved three points clear of Atletico Madrid in the standings. With the Spanish league not resuming until the first weekend of January, Ernesto Valverde’s men have plenty of time to prepare for the game at Getafe.
The Premier League leaders are guaranteed to end 2018 on top of the English top-flight after an emphatic 4-0 win over Newcastle on Boxing Day. Jurgen Klopp’s men extended their unbeaten start to the season to 19 games but could witness a halt to the streak when they play Arsenal at Anfield. However, given their form this season, Liverpool will most probably end the year on a winning note.
Manchester City players after their Premier League match against Leicester City
Pep Guardiola’s Citizens slumped to their second league loss in a row when they were beaten 2-1 by Leicester City in midweek. The defeat at the King Power Stadium meant City have lost successive games for the first time since December 2016 and now lie seven points behind Liverpool in the league standings. The reigning English champions will hope to return to winning ways at Southampton this weekend, before hosting the league leaders at the Etihad in the first week of the new year.
The Parisians will enter 2019 on top of Ligue 1 with a massive 13-point lead in the title race. Kylian Mbappe’s 13th goal in 12 league games saw PSG return to winning ways after they had drawn their last two Ligue 1 matches. Thomas Tuchel’s men begin the new year with cup fixtures against Stade Pontivy and Guingamp before a league fixture at Amiens SC. While PSG is expected to have a winning start to 2019, the return of record signing Neymar from a groin injury will be a massive boost for Les Parisiens as well.
Spurs are in red hot form at the moment, scoring 11 goals in their last two games against Everton and Bournemouth. South Korean superstar Son Heung-min’s double in both of the Lilywhites’ festive season fixtures has driven the club to second in the Premier League table, a point above current holders Manchester City. Although they host Wolves in a tricky fixture on Saturday, Mauricio Pochettino’s men are expected to grab all three points from the game.
Dortmund bounced back from their loss to Fortuna with a much-needed victory over Borussia Monchengladbach in Bundesliga’s top-of-the-table clash last weekend. Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus’ goals meant that Die Borussen are six points clear on top of the league standings, and also confirmed Dortmund as the winter champions. Lucien Favre’s men have an extended break until they visit the Red Bull Arena to take on fourth-placed RB Leipzig. Given their form this season, the Bundesliga leaders should edge past Die Bullen in that game.
The Blues made up for the loss against Leicester on the weekend with a Boxing Day victory over Watford. Eden Hazard was the savior for Maurizio Sarri’s men after his brace helped Chelsea win what was a difficult contest. Going away to Crystal Palace on Sunday, Sarri hopes his team puts on an improved display against the Eagles, who made headlines last weekend for a shock 3-2 win over champions Manchester City.
Napoli's hopes of catching up with Juventus suffered a setback as they lost 1-0 to third-placed Inter Milan at the San Siro. Gli Azzurri are nine points behind Biaconeri on the points table and will look to end the year on a winning note when they host Bologna at home. Despite losing last time around, the fact that Juventus failed to win their game as well offers Carlo Ancelotti's men a glimmer of hope in the title race.
Los Rojiblancos enter our top-10 list following a victory over Espanyol that kept them within three points of the La Liga summit. They return to our power rankings for the first time since their slow start to the campaign. As the season has developed, Atletico look like being the closest challengers for Barcelona to overcome in the title race, meaning their stay in our top 10 could last for a while yet.
Words: William Paul